#50 Day 26: Kathmandu, Nepal

 

Friday 21 April 2017

We woke up to a Scandal. As previously mentioned, the youngsters had gone out to Thamel and had enjoyed a night on the town. They came back in what I shall call ‘high spirits’ and, as you do when you are in high spirits, had not made a quiet entrance when they returned to the hotel. I understand some shenanigans went on – jumping in the pool and general larking around – and as this was at 2am it woke up quite a lot of people. Apparently a very irate German guest came out of his room and shouted at them and in the end hotel security had to escort them back to their rooms. A light sleeper usually, strangely I slept right through it all and missed the excitement! The culprits will remain nameless but they were not in the trek organisers good books the next morning.

Today I didn’t fancy doing much as I was leaving for Singapore the next morning, but I decided to go with a few of the girls to Baber Mahal to get Kay’s ring. It turned out to be a really cute boutique shopping area that used to be a Palace and we had a lovely morning wandering around the shops. It was a far cry from the hustle and bustle of Thamel, which we went on to. By mid-afternoon everyone had made their purchases and we were looking for a taxi home. I didn’t have any intentions of buying anything more when, as we were at the corner where the taxi’s hung out, a man selling flutes appeared. As I had already bought a flute (see #29) I wasn’t interested, but he obviously knew that I liked them as he kept following me, lowering the price each time I said no thank you. As I got into the taxi he said 500, which piqued my interest as that was a really low price.

I had been wondering what I could get as a present for the people at my volunteer placement in the Galapagos. As I would be teaching music I wanted to get them something related to music and it occurred to me that I could get them the flute! “500 you say?” I said, “Let me have a look then”. At this point I was actually sitting in the taxi, 4 of us squashed in, the man hanging in through the window being jostled by the crowds also trying to get taxis. As he realised I was now seriously considering buying it he upped the price to 600. It was a nice one and the workmanship was good – and this time I was on my guard for the slight-of-hand business. I tried to get him to sell it to me for 500 but he wouldn’t so I handed over Rs600 and off we went. It’s all very well to haggle and get a good price, but like yesterday, I wasn’t going to make a fuss. While I am not rich, I’m certainly more well-off than the people selling things on the street so as long as I do a bit of bartering they’re happy because you’re interacting with them (and giving them some money) and I’m happy that I’ve had a go.

It was sunny when we got back so I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon by the pool, although I ended up suffering some good-natured ribbing from the others because I didn’t actually go in the pool. I’m not a strong swimmer and, frankly, don’t like the water due to some traumatic experiences when I was younger. Also, I just don’t like getting wet and cold, and avoid swimming when I can! My pool friends can attest to this. Back in 2014 I went to Ibiza with Sam and Carla who were my pool team team-mates. They were originally going with another girl but she pulled out so they asked me if I was interested. I hadn’t known them long at that time but we all got on and I thought why not, I probably wouldn’t get the opportunity again. Two days after returning from Peru and the Inca Trail I was at the airport again, this time on my way to Ibiza.

Every day was a by-the-pool day and the other two used to jump in and out on a regular basis. The pool was quite large, and the width was … well I don’t know how wide it was but as it turned out it was wider than I could swim all in one go. Anyway one day I decided to go in, I’m not really sure why, and the other two went over to the other side to encourage me on. I started off well but for some reason it got a bit deeper in the middle and at the halfway point I was getting tired, out of breath and then a bit panicky because I couldn’t touch the bottom. I went from attempting the front crawl to the breast stroke to the doggy paddle and ended up going the speed of a snail. The other two were already cracking up laughing at me when suddenly a woman got in ahead and started swimming across the pool so that our paths would intersect at 90 degrees. I panicked even more and shouted “Get out the way!” or something to that effect, I can’t quite remember the exact words but the girls swear that’s what I said. This poor woman took one look at me floundering around and quickly swum off, and the girls, now laughing hysterically had to pull me the rest of the way to the side. This incident still causes much hilarity amongst our little group and every so often Sam or Carla will post “Get out the way!” on Facebook or say it when we’re out for lunch and I laugh good-naturedly (while swearing under my breath).

Anyway, back to Nepal. I was asked many times if I was going to get my swimming costume wet. It was actually a new costume that I had bought some months before with the aim of using the pool at my gym to try to improve my swimming but I never quite got round to it. The answer was no, my costume wasn’t going to get christened and I was very happy sitting next to Amanda reading my book, thank you very much.

The sun went down and we went out to a local Italian restaurant for dinner. It was a slightly subdued event because certain people were still recovering from the night before, and it was the last night we would all be together as various people were starting to leave. When we got back to the hotel, we had one last glass of wine, gave Kay her ring (which she loved) and then I said my goodbye’s to people I probably wouldn’t see in the morning.

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